FORT MYERS, Fla. Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon continued to receive quality looks at the arms at his disposal. This time, right-handers Jeremy Hellickson and Jeff Niemann were placed under inspection.
Hellickson started in the Rays 5-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Monday at JetBlue Park, giving up one run and two hits in three innings. Meanwhile, Niemann made a rare bullpen entrance, following Hellickson by giving up one run and three hits in 2.2 innings. Niemann, whos fighting to earn an end-of-the-rotation spot, was given the loss. It was his first of the spring.
I thought him and Hellickson were both very sharp, Maddon said of Niemann. Helly was really sharp. Good velocity, good breaking ball, curve and change. I saw the same thing out of Jeff. The velocity is not where it normally is yet, but I saw a good curve ball and a good split and a lot of movement once again.
Both could receive more work this season with right-hander James Shields departure to the Kansas City Ro...